Do you have Monster-In-Laws? Adrienne C. Laursen, LMFT, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and owner of The Engagement Coach, shares tips for dealing with overbearing or just downright horrific in-laws!
Respectfully Tell Your Spouse What's Bothering You
Maybe your in-laws call constantly or drop by unannounced. Maybe they control you with money or gifts. Or maybe they're just downright offensive and in your business 24/7. Whatever the case may be, you need to remember that your spouse belongs to and came from that family, and there is almost always an underlying loyalty that cannot be broken. It's important to be honest yet remain respectful. Tell him/her what's bothering you and how you would like the situation to be different. Ask your spouse if that's something you can work on together.
Set Boundaries Together As A Couple & Stick To Them
Boundaries are difficult to set and follow, because the family dynamics have changed. The way your spouse's family used to operate may need to change based on the addition of their children's spouses. Talk about what type of relationship you both want to have with your respective families, and then set boundaries and stick to them.
Present a United Front
Present the concerns and boundaries as a united front and be confident in your decisions. Don't allow your respective families to gossip or talk negatively about your spouse. Your partner should be your 1st priority and you need to show your family that you're serious. You have to remember that your family hasn't changed, but rather you changed when you got married, started acting like an adult, and introduced another person into the mix. Your family has likely been doing things "their" way for 20-30 years so you can't expect them to change overnight.
Act Like Adults (because you are!)
You are in fact, adults, so act like it. If your in-laws control you with money or gifts, stop accepting them and stand on your own two feet. If your families take advantage of you, stop allowing it and stop complaining about it. Command the respect you both deserve but acting like confident, got-it-together adults and that self-confidence will show your families that you're serious.